Friday, September 18, 2009

Finding My Voice

I decided to write my post this week about voice. No, not the one you speak with, but the kind of voice that makes your writing…well, you. I was recently talking with a fellow YA writer about how a writer’s voice is the most important aspect to grasp.

I likened a writer’s voice to an artist’s style (sorry, I’m always going back to the art references. I have an art degree, so sue me). As an artist, you can replicate another artist’s painting, but that doesn’t mean that you paint in their style. Take Vincent van Gogh for example. Sure, I could try and paint Starry Night just like he did (trust me, it’s not fun. When I was an art teacher, one of my students wanted to try it so bad I let her. BIG mistake, HUGE), but so can a photocopy or scanner. Next time I pick up a paint brush, despite JUST painting like Vincent van Gogh, I won’t be able to replicate his style. Each artist needs to find their own way. I could paint 1,000 pictures but until I can nail down my style, they could all look like a different artist painted each one.

As an author, I want my voice unique, as every writer should. If someone were to read one of my books, they could read the first few pages and go “Yep, this is one of Tami’s books”. Does that make sense? Kind of like, you can read just one page of a novel by John Green and right away know he wrote it. There is no question. Despite Looking For Alaska, Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns all being about different subjects and taking place in different places (though all modern and contemporary YA), you just know they are by John Green. The same can be said for the entire top YA (or adult) writers. That’s why people become fans of a writer’s work and not just one of their books, because they are able to carry their voice throughout their work no matter the subject.

So yes, that is what I’m currently working on…finding my voice. Any tips on how to grasp carrying your voice throughout the story, while making your characters three dimensional people?

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